Press release #HERO Home-based Extended Rehabilitation of Older people #CLAHRC @OfficialNIHR

Researchers receive grant to improve rehabilitation of older people following discharge from hospital

Researchers from the Academic Unit of Elderly Care and Rehabilitation (AUECR), University of Leeds based at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, the Clinical Trials Research Unit (CTRU) at Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research (LICTR), the University of Exeter, and the Academic Unit of Health Economics at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, have received £2 million of funding from the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme to conduct a five year national study looking at how rehabilitation can be improved for older people with frailty following discharge from hospital after an acute illness or injury.

Led by Dr Andrew Clegg, the research team comprises of Professor John Young, Professor Anne Forster, and Dr David Clarke from the AUECR, Dr Victoria Goodwin from the University of Exeter, and Professor Amanda Farrin, Professor Claire Hulme, Ms Bonnie Cundill, and Ms Suzanne Hartley from the University of Leeds, and Mr Phil Wright from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The study, known as HERO (Home-based Extended Rehabilitation of Older people), will involve 718 older people with frailty admitted to hospital following acute illness or injury. Participants will be recruited across 10 hospitals within Yorkshire and the South West of England over 23 months in total, with recruitment staggered to accommodate an internal pilot.  The overall aim is to investigate whether an extended rehabilitation programme using a home-based exercise intervention developed for older people with frailty improves health-related quality of life.

Dr Andrew Clegg, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Geriatrician at the AUECR and Primary care management of frailty theme deputy lead at NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber said: “We are very excited about this major project because it will provide robust evidence on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of a home-based exercise intervention as extended rehabilitation for older people with frailty following discharge from hospital. We have chosen quality of life as our main outcome of importance for older people, and will also collect detailed information on health and social care resource use. The work is therefore of considerable importance for older people, their families, the NHS, and social care services. ”

The Clinical Trials Research Unit’s Lead Methodologist, Professor Amanda Farrin, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating on this national trial to investigate the effects of the new exercise intervention, which has the potential for great benefit for a vulnerable patient group.  CTRU will implement and oversee the study, providing design, trial management and analysis expertise.”

Dr Vicki Goodwin, NIHR CLAHRC South West Peninsula Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, said: “This is a hugely important study which we hope will help physiotherapists improve care and outcomes for frail older people after they are discharged from hospital”

The research, which is to commence immediately, is due to complete in May 2021.


Academic Unit of Elderly Care & Rehabilitation Information

The Academic Unit of Elderly Care and Rehabilitation, University of Leeds, is one of the UKs leading centres for ageing and rehabilitation research.

The Units current grant income, from, NIHR and other sources stands at more than £8 million, with new grants due to start in 2017. Our portfolio of research includes: three NIHR Programme grants; a CLAHRC theme (Primary Care-Based Management of Frailty in Older People); and HTA trial (Randomised controlled trial evaluation to determine the clinical and cost effectiveness of a home-based exercise intervention for older people with frailty as extended rehabilitation following acute illness or injury, including internal pilot and embedded process evaluation).

This research programme is underpinned by the development of methodological expertise in elderly care research, including quantitative, qualitative, health economic approaches and Cochrane Reviews. This is advanced by productive partnerships with information specialists at the University of Leeds and an accredited Trials Unit. We have very robust and long established Consumer Groups who provide input into all our research projects.

Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research (LICTR) Information

LICTR delivers innovative design, delivery and knowledge transfer in clinical trials research. Our multidisciplinary approach, in collaboration with basic scientists, clinicians, policy makers, healthcare providers, public and patients and University colleagues, delivers internationally competitive research and teaching that makes a significant contribution to the evidence base for healthcare delivery.  The Institute’s research is conducted through the Clinical Trials Research Unit where we have expertise in design and conduct of complex clinical trials incorporating novel designs to evaluate medicinal products, complex interventions, diagnostics, medical devices and surgery.

University of Leeds information

The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise showed the University of Leeds to be the UK’s eighth biggest research powerhouse. The University is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The University’s vision is to secure a place among the world’s top 50 by 2015.

University of Exeter information

The University of Exeter Medical School is improving the health of the South West and beyond, through the development of high quality graduates and world-leading research that has international impact.

As part of a Russell Group university, we combine this world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. The University of Exeter Medical School’s Medicine programme is ranked 10th in the Guardian University Guide 2017. Exeter has over 19,000 students and is ranked 9th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the University ranked 16th nationally, with 98% of its research rated as being of international quality. Exeter’s Clinical Medicine research was ranked 3rd in the country, based on research outputs that were rated world-leading. Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care research also ranked in the top ten, in joint 9th for research outputs rated world-leading or internationally excellent. Exeter was named The Times and The Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2015-16, in recognition of excellence in performance, education and research. Exeter was The Sunday Times University of the Year 2012-13.

The National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Yorkshire and Humber and South West Peninsula (NIHR CLAHRC South West Peninsula/PenCLAHRC, NIHR CLAHRC YH) aims to bring together local universities and their surrounding NHS organisations to test new treatments and new ways of working in specific clinical areas, to see if they are effective and appropriate for everyday use in the health service.  Where potential improvements are identified CLAHRCs help NHS staff to incorporate them into their everyday working practices, so that patients across the local community receive a better standard of healthcare.


  1. The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme funds research about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. It is the largest NIHR programme and publishes the results of its research in the Health Technology Assessment journal, with over 600 issues published to date. The journal’s 2011 Impact Factor (4.255) ranked it in the top 10% of medical and health-related journals. All issues are available for download, free of charge, from the website. The HTA Programme is funded by the NIHR, with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales, and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern
  2. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (

This article presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

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